Blue Sky, purple cows and black swans… – Claudia Rennie writes:

On Saturday 20th April, the ‘How to Boost Business’ event at Leeds University gave YTI members the opportunity to get priceless advice from three translation tsars and meet other members in the network.  It was also, as Nick Rosenthal (ITI Chair) pointed out in his introduction, the first day of the year it was both sunny and above zero degrees: a memorable day indeed.

First to take the floor was Heidi Kerschl (MITI, NWTN training coordinator), with her invaluable SWOT analysis workshop.  Many will have come across this technique before, but Heidi’s advice was translation industry specific, and incredibly relevant for both established translators and those new to the industry.  She advised an approach to SWOT characterised by honesty, optimism and realism.  She encouraged us to stand out and ‘be the purple cow’: every translator is unique and has their own USP, it’s how we capitalise on it and promote it to clients that will set us apart and boost our business.

Next, Doug Lawrence (Amicus TransTec Ltd) gave his presentation on Positioning and Promoting your Business.  This gave us all the chance to get stuck into some entertaining icebreakers, and take in a vast amount of information on the translation industry as a whole.  The market size may well be dwarfed by Bill Gates’ personal worth but that did little to dampen our spirits: Doug’s tips and tricks both encouraged and educated.  He stressed the importance of not caving in to unrealistic demands, staying in control of our businesses as translators, and setting goals.  He warned us of unforeseen threats, ‘the black swan’, stressing the need to future-proof our businesses and stay on top of trends in the marketplace.

Doug’s second presentation, Negotiating and Pricing, gave all members the opportunity to compare experiences of clients and pricing, with many members reporting increased competition in the market was forcing them to lower prices.  Again Doug equipped all with the tools needed to counteract this trend with his excellent translation-tailored negotiation strategies.

Nick Rosenthal gave the final presentation, Customer Service.  His overview ran along a similar vein and highlighted the need to provide ‘customer delight’ not ‘satisfaction’.  He advised us to look at the lifetime value of a client and to ensure the relationship stays sweet.  This was usefully followed by some guidelines about what to do if things turn sour.  It was the perfect round up of the day’s themes: boosting your business based on targeting clients who match your expertise, and building long-lasting, fruitful relationships.

On top of getting unparalleled business and industry advice, the day was punctuated by coffee breaks, biscuits and delicious sandwiches: it was great to network, share experiences and meet new faces at the event.  I (and no doubt all other members) can’t wait until the next one!